Responding to Exile


Following the story of Judah, we see today that we are equal before God and his promise and even his discipline flow with equal measure. We rebel, and then as God deals with us, we react and even counteract God’s hand.  We are missing the point…

31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. 32 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done. 33 Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem

36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 37 And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.

1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled. 2 The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. 9 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done. 10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it

17 [The king of Babylon] made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah. 18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 19 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

1 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

26 At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.
2Kings 23:31-33, 36-37, 24:1-3, 8-10, 17-20, 25:1-2, 26

After Josiah, the pattern of the Kings of Judah was to disobey God and turn away from him.  Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah all did evil in God’s eyes.  And then, when God finally disciplined his people through the invasion of the King of Babylon, they rebelled and revolted against their oppression.

The end of the story was the fleeing of all who were left from Jerusalem to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.  From the least to the greatest… the hand of God shows no respect for earthly status or stature.  We are equal before God and his promise and even his discipline flow with equal measure.

We often follow the path of Judah.  We rebel, and then as God deals with us, we react and even counteract God’s hand, bucking back and fleeing his discipline.  We are missing the point.

What are we missing? Well, if we read these chapters again, we will find that the people did not humble themselves, repent, and turn back to God to seek him with all their hearts.  That’s what God expected and desired from his people.  That’s what God expects and desires from us. Humility, repentance, and devotion to following him…

We react to our circumstance instead thinking about upstream cause and effect.  What changes shall we make in our lives and relationship with God to live in his will and plan?  The story of Judah is a cautionary tale to which we ought to listen…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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